Friday, June 04, 2010
At our recent ladies High Tea at church I had the opportunity to squeeze a spiritual application from tea bags.
I looked up tea facts and found out some fascinating tea tidbits. All types of tea (except herbal) come from one plant, the Camellia Sinensis. Even though teas are classified as white, green, oolong and black, they come from the same source. What differs is when they are picked and how they are processed.
I decided that all humans have at least two things in common and both of those things are key ingredients for a nice cup of tea. From the every-second-counts picking of the tiny “white” tea leaves to the multiprocessed and fully caffeinated black tea, they all come from the same plant.
Tea/human connection number one. Each of us are a human version of a tea bag.
As there are thousands of varieties of tea, there are unique and variable human combinations. Like the white, green, oolong, black and herbal teas, and the many combinations of those, we humans have bits of leaves and fragments that go into our personal “tea bag.” Things like personality-type, family/culture and experiences are harvested and cured and become part of who we are. Call it nurture and nature crumbled up into a bag full of color and flavor that we use to impact the world around us, and as a filter on how we deal with life. Some of us offer soothing brews like chamomile to others, some are more Earl Gray and then there are the zingers in life. (Obviously, this might explain why we encounter people who just aren't our cup of tea.)
So onto point two. We are all unique little mixes of flavor and spice. What else do we all have in common?
Hot water, of course. The second most important ingredient in a cup of tea is the water.
In tea, hot water releases the flavors, the blends, and the antioxidant properties.
What is the hot water in our lives? Difficulties, challenges, experiences and trials.
The situations God allows into our lives cause us to bloom. The colors, scents and properties of our lives are made apparent to us, and to others, when hot water is applied. Now, that's not always pretty. Sometimes we end up with a nasty taste in our mouths or leave one with others. True life example of tea gone bad: we bought a lovely loose leaf blend at a tea shop. Dehydrated berries were mixed into the leaves and it was tasty...until we somehow found a strawberry that apparently had a rotten spot before dehydration and when it had steeped in hot water....ewwww.
Often when we react to the hot water in our lives with less than tasty results we are surprised and shocked. But...God's grace is available to us to make some changes within the tea we become. As we grow and mature in our relationship with Him He adds and subtracts seasonings and bits. And the milk and honey of the Word and our growing maturity can soften, change and sweeten the end product...one that can nurture, bring healing and nourish another weary or hurting soul.
No matter what process we are in at the moment, if we are IN Jesus Christ, hooked onto His vine, we are from the same plant. And what we've done, what we've experienced, the broken parts of us, the pain that we've endured, all of those bits and pieces are going into the brew. The brew is in God's hands and in His perfect timing and watchfulness. Our odd bits will be useful and valuable to Him. We are at different stages, we will have different antioxidants and properties, different futures, different pasts and processing that may look unlike any one else's, but we are His and we are being made into His perfect cup of tea.
When looking up tea terminology I think I found the perfect statement to describe the process of becoming uniquely us and valuable to the lives of others. It is a term used to describe “well-made” whole leaf tea grades – WELL TWISTED.